The bodies of two Ontario hikers who disappeared in Labrador's desolate Torngat mountains a year ago were found over the weekend on a boulder-strewn slope.
Police, Parks Canada staff and local searchers found the remains of Daniel Pauze, 31, and Susan Barnes, 32, near the summit of Mount Caubvick, the highest peak in the remote northern range.
"I think it will be good for their parents; bring some closure," Ken Takabe, a friend and climbing partner of Pauze, said Monday.
The Mount Caubvick venture was part of Pauze's dream of being the first Canadian to stand atop the highest peak of every province, said Takabe. The only other person who has done so is American.
"He was definitely passionate about the outdoors," he said.
Both bodies were taken to St. John's for further examination. Police say it was too early to speculate what happened to the two climbers.
Pauze had climbed in Ontario and had mastered some smaller peaks in the Maritimes and Mount Rainier in Washington state.
But Mount Caubvick, at 1,652 metres, is the highest mountain in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in all of eastern Canada.
Pauze and Barnes were dropped off by float plane in northern Labrador last Aug. 3 for two weeks of adventure hiking and climbing.
Pauze contacted his family Aug. 8 via a satellite phone. When they did not hear from him again, they reported the Mississauga, Ont., couple missing Aug. 24.
"This is all mountainous region with deep valleys. It's pretty challenging terrain with very little vegetation," said RCMP Sgt. Randy Mercer, a member of the search team.
Last summer searchers located the couple's base camp, along with a climbing harness, their canoe, a loaded rifle and the satellite phone but had to call off the search due to bad weather.
When the search resumed the bodies were quickly spotted from the air -- Pauze on Saturday, Barnes on Sunday -- before ground crews moved in to retrieve them.
Mercer said searchers got lucky with two clear days in an area notorious for quickly changing weather.
You want to be prepared physically and mentally and you want to have the right equipment and know where you're going," he said.
"You can be sitting on a rock having a sandwich and before you know it the winds shift and turn and pick up. If you're not anchored down good they can pretty well pick you up off the mountain."
Mercer said the cause of the deaths will be investigated.
"We've got some evidence. There's more we want to check," adding that it was a tough winter in the Torngat.
The Mount Caubvick ascent was the most difficult Pauze had attempted, Takabe said, but the mountain is a moderate climb and much planning went into the trip.
The pair were aware of the dangers.
"His last words to me were, `This will be the toughest trip I've ever done... If I survive,'" Takabe said.
It was their shared passion for mountaineering that made the two friends and Pauze's death won't prevent Takabe from pursuing other peaks.
"It hasn't discouraged me, although it has definitely made me consider the risk factors more closely," he said.
Takabe will attempt to summit Alberta's Mount Columbia this winter.
"I guess part of the excitement is doing the unknown."